Hit by coronavirus-related disruptions, both thermal and coking coal imports at India’s 12 major ports dipped 27.93 per cent to 45.77 million tonnes (MT) in April-August 2020 over the same period a year ago, according to the apex ports’ body IPA.
Thermal coal imports dropped 25.42 per cent to 28.93 MT and coking coal shipments fell 31.87 per cent to 16.84 MT during this period.
Coal volumes at these 12 major ports under the control of the Centre declined for the fifth straight month in August 2020, as per the Indian Ports Association (IPA).
These ports had handled 38.79 MT of thermal coal and 24.72 MT of coking coal in the April-August period of the previous financial year.
The IPA, which maintains cargo data handled by these ports, in its latest report said “percentage variation from the previous year” in thermal coal and coking coal handling was 25.42 per cent and 31.87 per cent, respectively.
Together, thermal and coking coal handling saw a decline of 30.83 per cent at these ports in the April-July period at 36.7 MT.
Thermal coal is the mainstay of India’s energy programme as 70 per cent of power generation is dependent on the dry fuel, while coking coal is used mainly for steel making.
India is the third-largest producer of coal after China and the US, and has 299 billion tonnes of resources and 123 billion tonnes of proven reserves, which may last for over 100 years.
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, sharp declines were also witnessed in handling of containers, coal and POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant) among other commodities.
These ports have registered 16.56 per cent dip in cargo handling to 245.04 million tonnes (MT) between April and August this fiscal.
Cargo volumes at these ports declined for the fifth straight month in August 2020 and all ports barring Mormugao saw a negative growth.
These 12 ports had together handled 293.67 MT of cargo during April-August 2018-19.
Ports like Chennai, Cochin and Kamrajar saw their cargo volumes nosedive about 30 per cent during April-August, while JNPT and Kolkata suffered a drop of over 20 per cent.
India has 12 major ports under the control of the central government — Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia).
These ports handle about 61 per cent of the country’s total cargo traffic. These ports handled 705 MT of cargo last fiscal.